The Complete Spot Paintings 1986 – 2011
Gagosian Gallery Hong Kong: January 12th – February 18th 2012
“Imagine a world of spots. Every time I do a painting a square is cut out. They regenerate. They’re all connected.” – Damien Hirst
Taking place simultaneously across each of the Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva and Hong Kong, are exhibitions of Damien Hirst’s iconic Spot Paintings from the past twenty five years. 331 paintings of spots are now on a world tour. I visited the Hong Kong edition in the midst of the Chinese Lunar New Year celebrations. Central Hong Kong, usually a hub of commerce and finance was unusually quiet. Gagosian Hong Kong is one of the few white cube spaces in town and is located in a 1920’s heritage building. Its rare to find such a large, bright and airy space in this city. The ‘Spots’ are at their best when viewed in this environment; a lone security guard pacing in front of the luminous discs.
As the leading figure of the cult YBA’S – Young British Artists in the late 1980’s Hirst is known for his animals in formaldehyde and diamond en-crusted skulls. But it is perhaps the ‘spots’ that have become the most enduring and challenging symbol of his work. But what does standing in a galley of spots, each a different colour, size and texture actually mean? It’s like the dizzying effect of being drunk, coupled with an odd sense of bemusement. Not much can be said, that hasn’t been said before. After all, it’s really just a bunch of spots, most of them not even painted by Hirst himself, scattered across the globe like discarded lollies from a child’s back pocket.